KNAPPA - The Warrenton and Knappa volleyball teams both missed out on the playoffs last year, but it was definitely a playoff atmosphere that filled the Loggers' gymnasium Thursday night.
The two rivals squared off in a Northwest League opener, and they went the distance, with Knappa winning in five games, 25-21, 23-25, 23-25, 25-12, 15-12.
Thursday night's meeting was far different from the two games the Warriors and Loggers played against each other Sept. 11, in the Catlin Gabel tournament. Knappa defeated Warrenton 25-5, 25-12 in that meeting.
"We watched Warrenton play at the tournament in Neah-Kah-Nie last week, and we saw that they had really picked up their game," said Knappa coach Bob Harn. "We knew they would be tough. They're a good team. We knew we had to be ready, and maybe we weren't quite as ready as we should have been."
The Warriors brought their own cheering section, and that seemed to help, as Warrenton rebounded from a Game 1 loss to score two straight 25-23 victories.
The Warriors also held a 12-10 lead in the decisive Game 5, but the Loggers scored the final five points to win.
"When you go five games, that's a lot of work," said Warrenton coach Dianne Dick. "And those girls were out there working hard. I knew we would give a better showing. I have faith that we can be very competitive in this league - it's just a matter of these girls believing it."
A solid night at the service line and big blocks at the net helped Knappa, which improves to 3-0 in dual matches, 1-0 in league.
Katie Ho had eight blocks for the Loggers, including a pair of stuff blocks at the net in Game 4 that helped Knappa build a 9-1 lead.
The serving was in the good hands of Meagan Harn and Racele Schuyler, who served the Loggers to a 10-0 rally in Game 4. Kristie Owings had a streak of eight straight serves, also in the fourth game.
Harn had a solid night at setter, passing out 23 assists. In Game 5, she set up Ali Gerttula and Owings for kills, and her set to Ho at match point was good for the game-winner.
Nadra Evans also had big kills in the fourth game, while Kasha Klauser served up consecutive aces in Game 5.
Evans, a junior, said it was intensity that brought the Loggers back, "and we just wanted to come back and beat Warrenton," she said. "Katie Ho did really well at the net, and Ali had a couple blocks. Racele put in a lot of serves, and that helped us out a lot."
Coach Harn added, "They just decided they wanted to win. We've got a long ways to go and a lot of work to do. But it's a great group of girls, and we'll get there. They like to win."
Meanwhile, the serving of Ashley Poole and Justine Marxer helped the Warriors win games 2 and 3, as Warrenton had to overcome late deficits in each game.
Trailing 22-19 in the second game, Poole connected on four straight ace serves to help Warrenton win.
Whitney Johnson and Olivia Newbold each had several big kills for the Warriors, including three apiece to give Warrenton a 12-10 lead in Game 5.
"We were doing things right the whole night, and that's great for the girls to feel that on the court and take it to the next level," Dick said. "Doug Rogers has been coming over from Naselle and working with us, and it's been really nice to have someone else there helping us out."
The Warriors also had a handful of football players in the stands, leading cheers the entire night.
"We usually do have good support at home games, and it's real nice that they were here tonight," Dick said. "I think the girls convinced them that they needed to be at the Knappa game. It makes the officials a little nervous, but I enjoy it."
Warrenton is scheduled to play at the Nestucca Tournament Saturday, while Knappa hosts Wahkiakum Monday.
Astoria def. TaftCorey Jacobson pounded out 14 kills and Shyra Merila dished out 39 assists to lead the Astoria volleyball team to a four-game win over Taft Thursday night at the Brickhouse.
Nicole McBride served up nine aces for the Fishermen, who overcame a 16-25 loss in Game 1 to win the next three, 25-22, 27-25, 26-24.
"We just got stronger as the night went on," said Astoria coach Angee Hunt, whose team improves to 2-2 in dual matches. "They were tight games, but we didn't have any mental letdowns, and we stayed tough."
Laura Ferguson had 10 kills and Heather Arnold added seven kills and three aces for Astoria, which plays at a North Marion tournament Saturday. The Fishermen will face Taft, Gladstone and Corbett in pool play.
Seaside def. MolallaSEASIDE - Seaside was down 8-2 in Game 1, but the rest of the night belonged to the Gulls, who scored a 25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 25-18 win over visiting Molalla Thursday night in a nonleague volleyball match.
"Tenisha Stock served six in a row to give us a spark," in Game 1, said Seaside coach Jason Boyd. "Game 2 our passing was very good and defense was consistent."
The Gulls missed four serves and had five zero passes in Game 3, but rebounded to win Game 4, thanks in part to strong serving from Brenna Archibald down the stretch.
Seaside was 123-for-143 (86 percent) hitting, and served at an 89 percent clip (88-of-98).
The Gulls take part in the Sisters Tournament Saturday, opening pool play at 10 a.m. against Phoenix.
Jewell def. North ClackamasOREGON CITY - Even the defending Casco League champions are no match for the Jewell Bluejays these days.
The Jays cruised past North Clackamas Christian Thursday night in Oregon City, 21-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-12, in a Casco volleyball match. Jewell's Sonia Borders pounded out 18 kills with five blocks, while teammate Mollie Lee dished out 28 assists with 10 kills and eight digs.
Samantha Uerling added eight kills and seven saves for the Jays, who improve to 3-0 in league play.
Jewell will play a doubleheader match with Open Door Academy Tuesday at home, then hosts Damascus Christian in a first-place showdown Thursday.